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Educating business students to manage for mental health

Sheldene K. Simola (School of Business, Trent University, Peterborough, Canada)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 29 August 2019

Issue publication date: 12 September 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe content topics and teaching methods for a new undergraduate course in business administration on managing for workplace mental health. It then discusses a preliminary evaluation of the course.

Design/methodology/approach

Research-supported content and teaching methods were developed and implemented. n=18 undergraduates completed pre- and post-course quantitative measures related to course goals, and a qualitative post-course survey about course content and delivery.

Findings

Analysis of pre- and post-course quantitative measures demonstrated significant increases in mental health-related knowledge; other-directed, mental health supportive behaviours; mental health promotion self-efficacy; mental health promotion intentions; and self-compassion; as well as significant decreases in stigmatising attitudes. Effect sizes were moderate to large, indicating usefulness. Qualitative, post-course data indicated that positive aspects of course content were those that enhanced knowledge of mental health conditions; skills for managing workplace mental health concerns; and attitudes towards those suffering from mental illness. Qualitative post-course data indicated that positive aspects of course delivery were specific teaching strategies and teaching qualities.

Research limitations/implications

Results support the continued development and use of a course for business students on managing workplace mental health. Additional, larger scale evaluation would be helpful.

Practical implications

Detailed information is provided about the course structure, content, resources and teaching methods, which could be used in other settings.

Social implications

The workplace is an important site for early identification and intervention of mental health concerns, regardless of their origin or cause. This research supports the usefulness of training prospective business managers in this regard.

Originality/value

Coverage of mental health-related topics with business students has been scant to absent. This project developed, implemented and evaluated a new course.

Keywords

Citation

Simola, S.K. (2019), "Educating business students to manage for mental health", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 14 No. 5, pp. 315-326. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-01-2019-0005

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited